Bit Parts DVD Review
Written by Joe Ripple
Released by Elftwin Films
Directed by Dave Reda
Written by John Rosenberg
2006, Region 1 (NTSC), 72 minutes, Not Rated
DVD Released on February 13th, 2007
Molly Fix as Melissa Martin
Sarah Gordon as Brenda Martin
Christopher Page as Doctor Kranston
Michelle Angel as Maggie Kranston
Dave Reda as Bobby Dumont
A psychologically disturbed plastic surgeon targets would-be actresses with specific body features, to repair the damage to his horrifically disfigured daughter.
Plastic surgeons? Actresses? Who would have thought of a connection there…
I happen to know a thing or two about twisted families who are also psychotic, pathological killers.
That said, when it came time to sit down to review Bit Parts, I completely cleared my mind about any misconceptions I may have had, and viewed this film with the understanding that this topic, although covered many times in previous films, will continue to be a viable source of material for the horror genre.
Although somewhat predictable in it's premise, Bit Parts is one of those films that possesses neither the "jump out and scare you" factor, nor the "We're going to show you so much blood and gore that you'll want to vomit" angle. What it does possess is the ability to take a standard horror topic, twist it slightly, thus making the viewer feel uncomfortable. I like to personally call this angle "It could happen."
Bit Parts is a nice piece of work from Director Dave Reda. While fully admitting this is not his Citizen Kane, Reda takes the helm of this horror vessel, and leads his passengers on a voyage of twisted mental depravity. Top acting honors go to Sarah Gordon as Brenda Martin and Christopher Page as Doctor Cranston. Both do a superb job in their specific parts. The editing was well done, and I must give two very big "thumbs up" to special effects makeup artist Jeff West, who did some excellent work. The title is just this side of shear brilliance, as the Doctor Cranston utilizes actresses to harvest body parts for his daughter. Thus, Bit Parts fits perfectly.
It was refreshing to find that this particular film did not go overboard on the gore, and there was no nudity at all, save for a pair of severed breasts. Having read the statement previous about the gore and the nudity, you need to see the film in order to appreciate what I mean.
The one major flaw with the film is everything that was "explained" to me. This was especially true whenever a car containing the actors would pull up to a location. "This is where some of my friends are….This is my house…..This is the address that we found." Generally done by voice-over, this was very distracting, and completely unnecessary. People are intelligent enough to understand that when you find the address in a previous scene, and you cut to the next scene…you are at the address you just found.
The dialogue was shaky at various points, and I found myself getting annoyed at the whole diatribe of "Did you try her cell phone?" over and over again. At some points this type of dialogue felt forced, but when you consider that overall the story flows relatively smoothly, this a minor distraction. The dialogue involving the police was way off, but as a retired police officer, (and being completely fair to Director Reda), I would probably be one of the few that would realize this.
Only those in the business know how truly difficult it is to actually make a horror film, or any film for that matter. Bucking the notion of shooting straight to digital video, Reda chose to shoot on Super 16mm film, and for those who do not understand, this translates into practically doing double the work as opposed to the ease of shooting on DV. Kudos to Reda for that work ethic.
Will Bit Parts scare you? No. Will it gross you out? Nope. Will this film win any Oscars? Absolutely not. What you have to consider is the following: First, this is an excellent starting point for Director Reda and Elftwin Films. Second, this film will make you sit back and think about the real horror in the world, the kind we see on the news. Sometimes, that's pretty scary in itself.
Video and Audio:
Overall, the video quality is excellent, minus a few washed out shots taken during the daylight hours. The transfer of the Super 16mm film was done wonderfully, without losing any color. The 16x9 anamorphic aspect ratio looks quite good.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is clear, with exception of the voice-overs that were much louder than the rest of the film.
Not much is offered in the way of special features except for a commentary, done three years after the film was completed. With writer Jon Rosenberg, director Reda and actor Peter Redman participating. In some instances, all three tried to talk together at various points, making it hard to understand what was being said. It is obvious that the three are friends, and absolutely had a great time making the film and the commentary. They spend much of the commentary actually making fun of each other, themselves and some of the points of the film, which was refreshing to hear. There are funny anecdotes about the audition location, and other independent film secrets. One of the aspects also covered was talk about dressing and lighting the sets, giving the sets an eerie feel.